Giving back to the community is more important than ever when times are hard.
That's the philosophy behind a series of three large donations totaling
$50,000 this week by Dodge Center's McNeilus Truck and Manufacturing
Inc. and its parent company, Oshkosh Corp.
While donations like this were not uncommon before the recession,
national numbers show substantial drops in corporate giving in 2008,
2009 and so far this year.
"Times are tough. We are all going through the worst recession any of
us have seen in our careers. But these charities need us more than
than they did when the economy was booming," is how McNeilus president
Mike Wuest describes the philosophy of Oshkosh CEO Bob Bohn.
For local non-profits, that means larger-than-usual contributions being
made to the Dodge County Food Shelf, Channel One Food Shelf and Mayo
Bohn and Wuest presented a check for $10,000 to the Dodge County group
Wednesday and they are giving $15,000 to Channel One and $25,000 to
Mayo Clinic today.
Wuest says the addition of the food shelves to this year's donation is new.
With the unemployment rate, we thought this would be the year that
those groups would need as much help as we could give them," he says.
With the concrete market at the lowest levels ever seen, McNeilus,
which makes concrete mixers as well as other products, has adjusted its
own employee numbers as well as pay during the past two years.
"It has been a tough couple of years and our employees had to step up
from a compensation standpoint and we've been able to restore that
compensation," Wuest says. "We are the company we are because of our
employees and the pride they have in what they do."
Overall, the truck maker's employee numbers have stabilized at 1,200.
"This is isn't a company that thinks of bonuses or that extra penny a
share. I think every dollar invested in our community pays back
tenfold," said Wuest. "I know that sounds corny, but that's true."